How Chelsea tried and failed to keep the Real Madrid-bound Rudiger

How Chelsea tried and failed to keep the Real Madrid-bound Rudiger
How Chelsea tried and failed to keep the Real Madrid-bound Rudiger

How Chelsea tried and failed to keep the Real Madrid-bound Rudiger

There is a very good possibility that the Blues are about to lose their best defender on a free transfer to the newly crowned European champions because they were too late to offer a good deal, Antonio Rudiger has been extremely clear, but he has never been totally clear.

“I don’t want to go too deep into things,” he told reporters after being asked about his decision to leave Chelsea in the aftermath of the team’s loss in the FA Cup final. However, he stressed that sanctions were not the reason for his decision to leave.

In fact, it was long believed that the Blues would have been able to secure a new contract for their star center-back if it were not for ownership, which led to their problems being blown out of the water.

In regards to Rudiger’s reason for leaving, the player has not yet revealed his true reasons for her departure. However, LIVE NEWS BLOG can reveal it has been long in coming. The defender’s arrival at Real Madrid is set to be confirmed in the next few days, when the club officially announces his arrival, free of charge, at Santiago Bernabeu.

Chelsea’s problems began during the early weeks of the 2020-21 campaign when Frank Lampard told the German international that he would be the fifth choice at center back following the arrival of Portuguese defender Thiago Silva.

Rudiger was naturally disappointed by Lampard’s decision, but he was nevertheless able to force his way up the pecking order, rising from fourth to third in the team’s defensive hierarchy, and winning the trust of the club by triggering negotiations with a player facing the end of his contract.

The offer that was forthcoming marked the beginning of the end of his time living in west London, even though it was a highly desirable one.

It seems that Chelsea is only willing to offer Rudiger a one-year extension to his contract rather than fresh terms, meaning that his salary will remain at £100,000-per-week until the summer of 2023.

Rudiger’s Chelsea team-mate, Fikayo Tomori, would have also been willing to leave on loan in the January 2021 transfer window, with AC Milan showing interest before switching their attention to Rudiger’s team-mate from the same club, Antonio Conte.

Rudiger, however, was open to signing the contract, and finally agreed to the terms verbally, only for Sahr Senesie, Rudiger’s brother and agent, to demand a small signing-on bonus, which, to the dismay of Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia, was flatly declined.

From that point on, Rudiger’s time as a Chelsea player has been on the clock ever since.

I’m not sure if that would have been obvious from his performance on the pitch, however, as the 29-year-old played an instrumental part in the club’s Champions League triumph after Thomas Tuchel replaced Lampard in the dugout.

Eventually, Rudiger’s form under Tuchel prompted Chelsea to reopen contract talks in August 2021, with the Blues now willing to offer him a salary of £140,000 per week.

Rudiger and his representatives felt that the deal undervalued Rudiger, and as a result, negotiations stalled again, with no further contact between the two parties making way until January when other clubs were free to speak with the ex-Stuttgart player.

“Unfortunately, my contract negotiations had already started to get tough at the beginning of the season,” Rudiger said in an interview with Players’ Tribune.

It is business as usual for clubs, but the situation becomes complicated when you don’t hear anything from the club during the period from August to January.

In the days following the initial offer, there was a long gap of just nothing. We’re not robots, are we? You cannot wait for months with so much uncertainty about your future.

There was no foreseeing of the sanctions, but at the end, other big clubs showed an interest, so in the end, I had to make a decision. I will leave it at that, because business aside, I have nothing negative to say about this club.

“Chelsea will always be in my heart. London will always be my home.”

Chelsea was eventually able to offer Rudiger the type of deal he had imagined, but it was too late, as the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich were disguised as a smokescreen for an already lost battle.

At the end, Madrid won a race that included Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, as well as Manchester United, who had lost out on Rudiger due to him telling Ralf Rangnick he did not want to join another Premier League club.

Whether Rudiger chose Chelsea or another club in the summer, he would have been entitled to a massive pay rise this summer, but the way contract negotiations were handled at Stamford Bridge proved to be the final stumbling block.

Only the fact that he has strong relationships with a host of players at Chelsea, as well as Tuchel, has prevented him from declaring his feelings publicly, and that is why he remained part of the team until the very end of the season, unlike Andreas Christensen who is heading for Barcelona.

There are now concerns that Chelsea could have face similar situations with the likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Marcos Alonso, who are all out of contract at the end of next season, while Mason Mount and Reece James need to be given huge new deals if they are to stay given the academy graduates are among the lowest-paid players in the first-team squad.

For now, though, Chelsea fans can bemoan the loss of perhaps their most consistent performer of the past 18 months.

Antonio Rudiger might never reveal his true reasons for leaving, but read between the lines, and the messaging is clear.

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